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Group clamours food from ‘agriculture that solves climate, health crises’

“Do we want to work in harmony with the laws of nature, or continue with the violence against the earth by eating food produced in laboratories and from an increasingly artificial agriculture? We want food which comes from an agriculture that cares for the earth, which provides the solution to the ecological climate and health crises.”

Navdanya International
Delegates at the Navdanya International book presentation

This was how Vandana Shiva, president of Navdanya International, opened the evening presentation of the new report “The Future of Food, Farming with Nature, Cultivating the Future”, on Saturday, November 9, 2019 in Florence, Italy.

The presentation of the Navdanya International report takes place at a time when the world is witnessing a massive disinformation campaign against food production alternatives, such as agroecology, fed by multinationals in the sector, using the same methods already denounced in the Monsanto Papers, and involving so-called groups of scientists, uninformed parliamentarians and journalists.

“It is part of the new neoliberal austerity which impoverishes public information and then the multinationals come along and modify the information. We must take back the schools and minds of our children. And I am very happy that Italy has a very enlightened education minister who is standing up against junk foods and in favour of education on climate change in schools,” said Shiva.

Maria Grazia Mammuccini, President of Federbio, affirmed the existence of a systematic attack on the practices of organic and biodynamic systems, saying: “…. there is a law now which gives structure to the organic food production system that has been attacked by the “scientific” world that called for the blocking of this law, behind which are animators linked to the multinationals.”

Nadia El Hage Scialabba, international expert in food ecology with 30 years of experience at FAO and member of the International Commissiono on the Future of Food, also noted that the chemical industry’s attacks have characterised the history of organic farming over the past 30 years.

She noted how the industry appropriates the terms, practices and visual images used for organic farming, and uses them to promote their own systems. She added: “What we live today, and in a very violent way, is that every time the organic and biodynamic movement tries to move forward, we must defend ourselves from the accusation of being unscientific, when in reality we have a systemic approach that is more sophisticated than the reductionist one based on conventional agriculture “.

Bernardo Gozzini, climatologist and director of the Italian Lamma (weather) Consortium, cited the recent IPCC report on climate change and land use, which clearly shows the role of agriculture in greenhouse gas emissions. He also pointed out agriculture’s dual role of either contributing to or mitigating climate change by either emitting GHGs or absorbing carbon dioxide, depending on what type of agriculture is practiced.

The report “The Future of Food, Farming with Nature, Cultivating the Future”, which brings together international experts, is freely available to download online, according to the writer. It first gathers evidence of global resistance against the industrial agri-food system. Second it gives examples of good ecological practices among farmers, local communities and civil society organisations, as part of Navdanya International’s campaign for Poison-free Food and Farming, and third, it provides a global perspective as continuation of the work of the International Commission on the Future of Food and Agriculture.

In conclusion, it represents a milestone it the analysis of the agro-food systems begun with the publication of the Food for Health Manifesto in 2018.

As part of the evening’s event,  with the theme “Agriculture that is good for the climate“, the Italian publication of the new book co-authored by Vandana Shiva and Andre Leu, “Biodiversity, agroecology, Regenerative Organic Agriculture” was also presented, published by Terra Nuova Edizioni. The book evidences that sustainable agricultural practices are the only solution to combat social inequalities and climate change, and guarantee food and water to all the inhabitants of the Earth.

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